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Owners want answers after family cat caught in 'barbaric' trap

Lisa Donovan with son Charlie and daughter Sophie, their cat Tinkerbell and the Fenn trap
Lisa Donovan with son Charlie and daughter Sophie, their cat Tinkerbell and the Fenn trap

AN angry pet owner has sounded a warning after her cat got caught in a “barbaric” trap.

Lisa Donovan said she was awoken by the screams of her cat Tinkerbell at her Totton home at 2am last Friday. She went downstairs to find the trap clamped to her leg.

“When I saw it first of all I froze, to be honest, and just thought ‘Oh my God, am I really looking at this?’ I had to try and prise it open; it was so difficult and it took me five to 10 minutes but I managed it. Tinkerbell was screaming the whole time.

“We drove her to the vets, PDSA in Southampton, and they examined her and were so surprised her leg wasn’t broken. It was a very lucky escape. I think she must have used up a few of her nine lives.”

Fortunately, Tinkerbell is set to make a full recovery, but the shocking incident has prompted Lisa to warn other cat owners to be on their guard.

She has reported the matter to Hampshire Police and spoken with Totton and Eling Town Council and local Hampshire county councillor David Harrison, asking them to make public appeals against traps.

“I was just so angry about it all,” she said. “I missed a day’s work and was extremely upset and worried. My two children [Charlie and Sophie] were in floods of tears too.

“They both went off to school that day thinking they would come home and Tinkerbell wasn’t going to be there anymore.”

The trap was a Fenn type which is designed to catch small animals, including vermin, weasels and squirrels. To be legal to use it must have a small cage attached – the one that caught Tinkerbell did not.

Lisa has no idea where the trap came from, but strongly suspects it was in a hedgerow close to her garden that borders the town’s Water Lane allotments.

Her cat’s screams were brief, she added, and came from the direction of a path to the rear of the back garden of her house. Lisa has questioned whether the trap could have been laid by an allotment holder, possibly to catch vermin.

“I have been living here 10 years and I know the routes my cats take when they are coming in and out of the house. There’s no way Tinkerbell could have dragged the trap for some distance.

“When I first heard the commotion, it was coming from behind our house and then my neighbour’s garden, and then mine, so Tinkerbell likely got trapped, hopped my neighbour’s fence and then mine and came into the house,” Lisa said.

Totton and Eling Town Council clerk Derek Biggs said he would ask its community warden to inspect the area around Ms Donovan’s home and the nearby allotments for traps.

He stressed there was “no proof” the trap had been set by an allotment holder but said the warden would issue a reminder about the use of them. “Obviously we condemn anybody putting traps out for animals - it’s disgraceful,” he added.

Cllr Harrison hit out at whoever set the trap, declaring there was “no need for barbaric means”.

He said: “I am really disappointed to learn that somebody in the central Totton area decided that it was a good idea to set one of these traps. This poor cat fell victim to it, dragging it all the way home to the owner.

“There are modern, less cruel, means of controlling pests or deterring cats from gardens and allotment plots. Fortunately, I understand that the cat's leg wasn't broken and is well on the mend. Whoever set this trap, please don't do it again.”

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: “An investigation has been filed pending any further lines of enquiry coming to light.

"Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190117264.”

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